Arabinda Rajkhowa, 53, chairman of the banned United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) will “reach India soon” and announce his willingness to talk to the government, a highly placed source told Hindustan Times.
"He is currently in Dhaka," the source said.
<b1>Despite much media speculation, the governments of India and Bangladesh refused to comment on whether Rajkhowa had been arrested.
"Rajkhowa wants to turn himself in to the process of law… surrender," said the highly placed source. "The modalities are being worked out."
Once he reaches India, Rajkhowa is likely to be lodged in a Guwahati jail. Ulfa’s publicity secretary Apurba Baruah will also surrender along with Rajkhowa.
The source refused to use the word ‘arrest’ or ‘detention’ in the context of Rajkhowa.
But he said Rajkhowa’s willingness to talks was a direct result of the pressure India had brought to bear upon him over the past year.
ULFA is a banned separatist group that has been seeking to establish a sovereign Assam. Indian agencies, with the active cooperation of the Sheikh Hasina-led Bangladesh government, have been in hot pursuit of Ulfa and jihadi groups targeting India, but operating out of Bangladesh.
Sasha Choudhury and Chitrabon Hazarika, two other senior leaders of ULFA are already in custody for the last month. Some key operatives of LeT have also been picked in Bangladesh. Even Rajkhowa was pinned down in an operation on October 27, but managed to narrowly get away.
Ulfa commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah, who is based in China, is known to be opposed to talks with India. The rift between him and Rajkhowa also helped India get Rajkhowa to agree to talks. Rajkhowa is “more sophisticated and reasonable,” said the source.
The personal friendship between Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee also facilitated the cooperation between the two countries.